University School of Milwaukee’s Global Scholars participated in the sixth annual USM Crisis Simulation, culminating with a crisis summit featuring special guest R.P. Eddy ’90 on Saturday, Jan. 12 in Mellowes Hall.
This event, part of a year-long global education theme of immigration and politics in the digital age, was led by Upper School History Teacher and Director of Global Studies Dr. Henry Wend. Participants in this year’s simulation included USM’s Global Scholars and students from Nicolet High School.
The simulation began last fall with a Global Scholars discussion of their summer reading, “War in 140 Characters: How Social Media is Reshaping Conflict in the Twenty-First Century,” and presentation from the book’s author, David Patrikarakos
. It continued in January with a visit from Eddy, a bestselling author and chairman of Ergo, who spoke to USM students, community members, and the general public on Friday, Jan. 11. The next day, he returned to campus to role-play as U.S. President Donald Trump for the crisis summit.
The crisis summit was the culmination of nearly six months of preparation, during which students were assigned to teams representing non-governmental organizations ranging from the American Civil Liberties Union to the National Rifle Association. They then had to research how these organizations are affected, either positively or negatively, by illegal immigrants. Students then used ReactLearn, an enclosed social media environment, where they developed memes and social media posts with the intent of influencing public opinion—in this case, freshmen who were invited to vote on those posts they found most influential.
During the crisis summit, they used their social capital in an attempt to influence the president, and subsequent public policy, to further their stance on immigration. After making their presentations, Eddy offered his feedback on the students’ work and provided suggestions for improvements.
Critical to the success of this year’s Crisis Simulation were the contributions of Assistant Director of Global Studies Colleen Tiefenbrun, who aided with the simulation’s logistics, and Upper School Science Teacher Dr. Greg Marks, who lent his expertise in gamification and coaching—along with general aplomb—to the activity.
Current and future enhancements to the Crisis Simulation program are funded by a small group of parents, parents of alumni, and alumni, resulting in additional support thanks to a matching grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation.About R.P. Eddy ’90:
R.P. is the chairman of Ergo. Previously, he served at the White House National Security Council and as a senior U.S. diplomat. He was chief of staff to U.S. Ambassador to the UN Richard Holbrooke; senior adviser to Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson; and senior policy officer to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, a role in which he served as an architect of the Global Fund to Prevent AIDS, TB, and Malaria. R.P. was a managing director at the Gerson Lehrman Group and a team leader at the Monitor Group. The World Economic Forum honored him as a “Global Leader for Tomorrow.” He is a life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and was an associate at Harvard University’s Belfer Center. R.P. is co-author, with Richard Clarke, of the best-selling and award winning, “Warnings: Finding Cassandras to Stop Catastrophes.” R.P. has a B.Sc. in neuroscience from Brown University.